Will Gordie Learn to Not Fall Down the Steps Face First?
Keep steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,
yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children
and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:7)
We are learning life lessons throughout our lives, if we have any integrity whatsoever. Some lessons we learn early in life. On Sunday, my grandson Gordie learned that he is still too small to walk down the steps facing forward. He took a fall, landing on his chest, on the chapel’s hard slate floor. I heard Bill Ekhardt gasp from the chancel. Gordie bounced up without a tear and tried again. He is a wonderful kid, tough as nails, but he is stubborn and will learn some lessons the hard way!
Our life becomes more meaningful and exciting if we can learn the important lessons of life sooner rather than later. One of my favorite writers, Ayodeji Awosika, in his article, “The Most Powerful Lessons People Learn Much Too Late in Life,” confirms that too many of us waste vast amounts of our life on things that are meaningless. By learning the following, we can expand the meaning of our life. Awosika asks, “How safe and practical you were” is not the question that brings meaning to your life. Gordie needs to be safe and practical going down the steps at 23 months old, but he shouldn’t be overly safe at everything. With wisdom, Gordie will learn what is worth the risk and when it is just better to be safe.
Instead, Awosika calls us to do three important things, that are worthy of risk.
1. “Do things I enjoy and be creative.” Wasting time is its own risk, but it is important for us, at every age, to take significant time to find out what in life makes you excited to get up every day. One of the saddest things I’ve experienced is talking to men or women in nursing homes who share their despair that they wasted their life working at something that they were not proud of or found meaningful. Life is too short to spend 80% of our waking hours doing something we hate. No amount of money can be worth wasting your life.
2. “Make an Impact and Leave a Legacy.” Every day of our life is one more brick on our life’s foundation. The life we leave, good or bad, leaves a legacy. Like the Bible says, our actions will affect our families to the “third and fourth generation.” The sooner we learn that our lives are not just our own, but our actions affects those we love, the better our world will be.
Which leads us to 3. “Be a good person.” If we are unloving, our legacy will be horrific, no matter how “successful” we become. You can be President of the United States, but if your legacy is unloving, your legacy will ultimately be one of failure. Today, simply ponder the life lessons you still want to master, so your legacy will be one that makes a positive difference and honors God.